Ian was fit and healthy. Friends joked he was the only person who cycled to work going 30 miles in the wrong direction!
He had moved from Thomson Reuters in Nottingham to Sage in Manchester to be nearer to his sister Gen and girlfriend a few weeks before. He let the house he had lovingly gutted and refitted only at the end of August.
He spent his last weekend selling things he no longer needed, taking items to charity shops, cycling 50 miles in The Pennines, visiting friends, visiting his sister two doors away, ringing us and eating out on the Sunday evening. He was so happy.
Monday morning 1st October 2012, Gen found her shed had been burgled. Two bikes had been stolen so Ian called round to check she was all right before cycling off to work. He promised to help repair it after work.
At the end of the day, he suddenly slumped over his computer at work and colleagues got him an energy drink and sweets, thinking he had overdone it the day before. They insisted he have a taxi home. A neighbour saw him arriving home.
A few minutes later, his girlfriend found him unconscious, screamed and two GPs who lived next door rushed over the fence to help. Gen was called and watched as they worked on him and paramedics arrived.
She rang us, saying it looked bad.
Stabilised, they took Ian to Manchester Royal Infirmary. He had to be shocked several times and staff there cooled him overnight. We spent our longest journey ever travelling from East Yorkshire to MRI, calling family and friends on the way. Over the next two days, the tests and results became even more worrying. Heart readings indicated Brugada – something we had never heard of. More and more treatments were tried. It was like being in a nightmare. We gradually realised there was no hope of recovery.
After careful consideration we asked to speak to someone about organ donation. The staff were fantastic. They found that Ian had signed up to organ donation only 6 weeks before – probably when he changed his address on his driving licence. This confirmed that was what he wanted and we went ahead with the arrangements. The harrowing final brain tests on Thursday were completed and we said our goodbyes. 34 years old. Too young.
The coroner agreed to the death certificate being issued a few hours later. The specialists said it was like a light bulb going out and he would have felt no pain. They suggested we needed to be tested too.
The following weeks went in a blur with a funeral to arrange, no Will in place, no knowledge of Ian’s PIN numbers or passwords – something we now encourage others to make and share with loved ones. It was difficult to track down his previous medical records, as he had been so fit. He had cycled up the Col du Tourmalet in the Etape du Tour of France in 2010 to raise money for the Thomson Reuters Foundation Emergency Information Service. He rode the Tourmalet twice more to watch The Tour itself come and go.
Family and friends were, and continue to be, amazing. People contacted us from all over the country and world with wonderful tales about Ian. Gen set up fundraising in his memory and our first target of £1000 was met within a week. So many people said Ian was an inspiration to them.
We miss so much about our son. He was intelligent and caring. I loved his deep voice. He loved music, playing keyboard and listening to his vast CD collection. He remembered every film he ever watched and hired a (very small) cinema for his 30th birthday. He adored food – cooking and eating out. He ate so much but always stayed slim. With his 6ft 5in frame, he got very hungry! His signature dish was Beef Wellington.
He read extensively and diversely. We can’t remember him learning to read – he just picked it up at 3 years old. He was a talented artist. He enjoyed travelling and his favourite trips were to America. His degree was in IT and he always kept up with the latest technology. But his passion was for cycling and he took every opportunity to go out with his club or on his own. If the weather was too bad, he cycled in his garage on a turbo trainer.
He fell off his bike several times. He once found out he’d broken his elbow after two weeks of carrying on regardless. He won many trophies and awards for cycling in and around Nottingham. He played 5 a side football but gave it up as he was worried it would wreck his knees for cycling.
Ian was the ideal son and brother – ringing, texting, emailing, almost every day. He was generous and gave us wonderful gifts which we treasure so much.
He was a joker and each Christmas he would buy something to make us laugh. That was his favourite time of year. I’m so pleased I kept his last Mother’s Day, birthday and Christmas cards.
Ian was very loyal to friends from school, university and work. He mentored lots of people; was quiet but encouraging too. He helped create a garden for disabled adults in Nottingham.
Many of his friends have since raised even more money for CRY with bike rides, Ironman challenges, cake sales and marathons. His Dad even cycled from coast to coast in his memory last year. His friends have been a great comfort to us. Many have signed up to organ donation in his memory.
We will never understand why Ian died so suddenly. We are grateful that 7 people have benefited from his organ donations and that some of them have written to us thanking us; but his death has left such a vast void in all of our lives.
Seeing others’ stories on the CRY website has helped us realise how many families have suffered, as we have. We will continue to support the work of CRY in any way we can, in the hope that answers will be found and such deaths will become even rarer.
Ian will never be forgotten. We are so proud of all he achieved but sad for what could have been.